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Theda Skocpol; Vanessa Williamson Education. (2012) 'The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.'

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Virginia 10, Us 9, America 8, North Carolina 4, United States 3, Obama Administration 2, Patrick 2, Arizona 2, Goldwater 2, Clinton 1, Brown 1, Cunningham 1, Pushback 1, Brad Holt 1, Bill Holdman 1, George Bush 1, Charlie Crist 1, Vanessa Williamson 1, Rick Santelli 1, Marco Rivera 1,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Theda Skocpol; Vanessa Williamson  Education.  (2012)  
   'The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism.'  

    May 19, 2013
    4:15 - 5:16pm EDT  

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>> host: sounds like you're venturing out away from politics. >> guest: i want to read about incentives and politics. every one of my books as a political court to it. >> host: we've been talking on booktv with larry elder. "dear father, dear son: two lives... eight hours" pick up the book to find out how his mom got his brother dennis into the military. thanks for being with us. >> guest: my pleasure. thank you for having me
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tonight at the as above and the internal revenue service sent predators, with respect to progress in the past years. first, theda skocpol and vanessa williamson present a study of the tea party. the authors examine several tea party chapters and report tea party supporters are predominantly middle-class older americans who according to the authors mostly enjoy manicures social security benefits, but
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are reticent to pay taxes to assist those they deem him deserving. this is about an hour. [applause] >> thank you. we are delighted to be here in north carolina today and look forward to a lively discussion after we introduced a research boat. just remind you well, the tea party and his contemporary station first-out theme very rapidly and amazingly, just weeks after barack obama was inaccurate as president of the united states following an election that was rather amazing and historic. in february team, 2009, rick
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santelli went into a rant here about the founding fathers to talk about the horror they would feel days following the 2000 election recognized the rhetorical, the symbolism that is back to their applause and began to work in on the internet and face-to-face measures and communities, regions across the country. within weeks, they are staging
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demonstrations in various regions featuring older people dressed up in costumes carrying handwritten signs, denouncing obama is a socialist or communist. within months they were mounting huge demonstrations in washington d.c. and set to work organizing what eventually became 1000 regularly made in local groups in states across the united states. by 2010, the mainstream media took were noticed because their effect in the dynamics of republican primaries, bringing marco rivera to a victory over the previous establishment candidate charlie crist. they made in the massachusetts special election decided scott brown who shot the democratic card in my one-party state and
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by november 2010, the tea party was massive gop that the how these are much more conservative republicans. we all know they push those republicans to refuse compromise with the obama administration throughout 2011 and push for big cuts and changes in national policy. and we see tea party funders weighing in during the course of the 2012 primaries in a way that i'll discuss at the end of my remarks. having reminded you go of that huge phenomenon that changed the focus of national debates and created a lot of new energy on the formerly dejected right, let me mention how we got involved. the nest of his demented term paper for robert putnam's capital fund and noticed it was on the right that a lot of
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protest energy was happening around health care reform. i was finishing up the first two years in 2010 and couldn't help notice the agenda has been shifted by a remarkable man that i didn't quite understand. so as that of curiosity that we teamed up to write an article on the tea party. what is there about a research is through every conceivable data and every method analyzed surveys, looked at media coverage, chart votes in the congress and national elect trait. we also went out and visited and sat on tea party meetings in new england, arizona and virginia and we did one-on-one interviews with people who really do something differently so not
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just at dinnertime report all back together and came up at the conclusion will be sharing with you today. before i turn it over to the nasdaq to talk about the grassroots tea party for a while, let me say one of the big findings of our book that you should take away from you is that although we all talk about the tea party and we will to it's not one thing. it's not one coordinated network. not entirely top-down or entirely bottom. the tea party has always gotten its energy, abilities to impact national politics remake the republican party from an interaction of three forces working together but not
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entirely. grassroots protesters and i went us in local tea party group are one forests. another first we identified in the book are right-wing media cheerleaders who play a very important role in the beginning and getting the word out creating a commonsense value in information. to be sure, but also right-wing bloggers who are key figures in civic life on the right in every community. the third forests beyond the grassroots and media cheerleaders are free market professional at the kc and political funding groups. these are groups that existed for many years in most cases. but when the grassroots energy broke out, the disabled person themselves. tea party express put their
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spokesmen to present themselves as spokespeople for a grassroots movement. so we see and they are backed by what we call billionaires, very wealthy people. for right-wing causes. these are the three forces. they are interaction they make the tea party work up to the 2010 election in a slightly different way in a state college talk about at the end. now give a chance to share fascinating findings about the grassroots. >> i wanted to talk about who the grassroots tea parties are. for some pain speed up pointed out, which is this is a lot of fun. it is deeply enjoyable to go out
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across the country and talk to americans about politics and do so in a way that wasn't mediated by the confrontations that have been in a protester limitations in a television interview or just look at surveys. the chance to sit down with people was really a great pleasure for both of us. so where the grassroots tea partiers? first of all, older white middle class. above all they are conservatives even if they hadn't involved in politics before them are engaged in politics, that kind of thing. the thing that was clearly the case with many hot a surprising number of people told us their first experiences in the goldwater campaign. the republicans are
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long-standing. they tend to be a little bit wealthier and more educated than the average american. the thing that really strikes you as the demographic age almost without exception i'd be the youngest person. i remember in arizona a mentor in interviews before them in a public couple agreed to drive me to admit in that night. a host of the tea party takes one look at me and says you've got a young person. and i'm 30, so this is actually reassuring for me personally. anyway, the groups tend to be near retirement age at retirement. although the group leaders would often thought her stay-at-home moms on church groups are the vibrant fours organized in the meetings. so this is a lot of demographic
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similarity. a distinction pesters my religious numbers some libertarians. in our experience, most people are socially conservative in the most central people were conservative. they tended to be a little more on the periphery of the organization. it was not common. had a 40 days prior to an abortion. the social conservative is present but it can cause tension because they are trying to bridge that divide, so sometimes libertarians felt uncomfortable when they started a prayer talked about social issues. so that's the point of division were sometimes out within the groups. to the rest of the ideological groups there is a lot of
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similarities. from the outside, what do you know about what the key partiers believe? in my savings equating to take our country back and you might see some of the survey results in the media that talk about deficit and taxes and overall concern about the economy. was nice as it had to to use those things, but also in-depth interviews to get a better sense of what was motivating people and it turns out like most americans do have quite a complicated piece of government. it's not treated this like every government program or don't receive medicare is part of the government. they do know that. occasionally you see a sign that says keep government hands off my medicare. people know where that money comes from. so the thing that explains some programs are okay and other programs are suspect is a
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fundamental belief that some american our heart working and have contributed and therefore have social security and medicare which you have to pay them to come of other americans are freeloaders who haven't done my part and want to get something for free. many tea parties expect to use the next two years and objections to welfare but irish often included not just food stamps, but pollak rants. a lot of concern about college students in particular. so you've got your hard-working people. so who is in each group? we would ask people, who are these undeserving people as an aside to tell this audience, but the number one incident is that it's young people. the younger generation aren't
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entering the workforce, artwork and has hired, how that made the same contributions their generations has made it so that's why you see these concerns associate opportunity might be another way of thinking about it. the other concern is minorities and particularly unauthorized immigrants. widespread concern is people coming to america and take advantage of welfare health care programs despite the fact they're not actually legally in america. so of course these categories overlap. young america's more diverse than old. so these two ideas about concerns about minorities and immigrants are part of a larger concern about how the country is changing and they can see them in some sense it is true of the country they live in now is not the country they grew up in and
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that is something that whether or not you agree with the policy prescriptions that people might agree with, you can understand where that might come from because they've changed a great deal in the last 50 years. so that brings us to president obama and the spark that launched the tea party activism. for people in the tea party, obama is a symbol of this cultural change. so you see signs of protest. the people were more circus act. they would say things like i just can't understand him. they don't know where it's coming from. they don't understand his background. he is that this nexus. he had a huge amount of support from younger voters. perhaps more importantly, he's perceived as foreign. he has a foreign thought there and if not of this country and that is something that made rse rst of all, he was a
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college professor who would look down on regular americans. so use at the nexus of these three concerns and this was really fundamentally what drove the tea party start at the beginning of the obama administration inspired act as amended thompson can help us think about what might happen after the 2012 election. >> alright, so they stop smiling at anger and fear and determination to checkmate a democratic liberal president, that's a bad thing in conservative thinking in another south, who also has the added quality is that the message is talked about, inject it a lot of energy on the right through the
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2010 election cycle. we talk about the way in which this has helped to boost the republican party and to propel rightward. tea party people are quite pragmatic and we did not find at the grassroots anymore a willingness to turn away from the republican party. instead, they determination was to intervene with the republican party to affect the people who run in primary elections and to do that to office and holds a seat to the fire of republicans are in office to make sure they don't compromise with democrats and they hold firm and carrying through tea party priorities, ranging from cutting spending on freeloaders to cracking down on illegal immigrants in a variety
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of other priorities i.t. partiers may have. in mid-2010 election, they were going with the flow because the midterm election is an election in two out of five eligible voters vote and would normally be skewed towards older, more conservative people. and midterm election held after one party takes the presidency and both houses of congress is always going to lead to a pushback in the other direction. this election was also occurring during a prolonged economic downturn is alarming to many americans. so that has to account for why they tea party was much touted in the media, have been a lot of impact on the republicans in the show one or both, hope to elect one of the most rightward leaning representatives of all political science quantitative measurement of these matters.
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during 2011, grassroots teapartiers change their tack ticks after the election. they stopped mounting public demonstrations in the raping media was messengers and covering public demonstrations. the media as a whole is registered in finding spokespeople to tell them what did he party wanted. said they put people at the head of freedom marks, 70-year-old dick armey, a former business lobbyists, a former leader of the republican party in the 1990s on the camera to speak for the grassroots insurgency that he now said he was representing. we shouldn't imagine the grassroots tea party went away. what he did was to dig into their global group and monitor closely the state legislators in congress people they hope to elect in the republican party
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and they are constantly contacting our legislators and pressure in non-. meanwhile, the right-wing funders are busy deciding which primary elections to intervene in this site: i've sent checks to challengers to overly moderate republicans in places like indiana were dick lugar is in the fight of the movement. that brings me finally to what all this tells us about 2012. we have to keep in mind that 2012 will be an election were closer to three out of five eligible voters will go to the poll. of the act is in this drama, democratic strategist, elite teapartiers in many grassroots teapartiers understand the dynamic is a bit is a bit different in this election
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cycle. it is also true is the general american public has figured out the style of politics associated with the label tea party, it has become increasingly unpopular. with the general electorate. so a lot of what is going on is not as visible tea party. now celebrated as such is tea party activism and yet it has had a tremendous impact on the republican primary. not by picking out one horse in the horse race two and doors because the tea party is not one organization, is not disciplined in central united. it had no capacity to select a tea party candidate. tea party voters and funders looks around and try to find somebody they could get behind and there's been waves of enthusiasm one after another as a possibility.
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but it isn't surprising in many ways in tea party voters go to the polls along with other conservative minded republicans, some of them but for libertarian ron paul. others marc christian conservatives and others for general conservatives. said it has been no united selection of a non-romney horrors. when they interviewed teapartiers in the spring of 2011, we found no consensus on who they wanted to be there canaday. we found a lot of pragmatism about finding someone who could actually have a chance to win. they knew she couldn't, but we also found universal suspicion of mitt romney is not authentic. that's what they think. and then not they probably agree with many liberals in the state of massachusetts. so there is not a settling on one of these only that is to mis
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the forest for the trees because the impact of tea party funders and grassroots activists on the entire field of republican candidates has been tremendous. all of the republican candidates including mitt romney have come heated to use code words that speak to the tea party believes that obama is not a real american, that we have to take our country back. i have all endorsed hard line anti-immigration policies, not just border control, but removing undocumented people from the country who are already here and they have all signed on to very large additional tax cuts tilted towards business and the rich and by spending on anything, above all obamacare
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can be construed as a new series of benefit for lower income for younger people. so all of the republican candidates have signed on to that and that means even though the tea party funders in tea party at the base who are half of the republican identified voters and the more attentive path that that have had a very big impact on the republican party even though they've not settled on one candidate in the field to support. i'll wrap it up by saying what does all this mean for the future? when i present this research at cornell in the fall, a 20 euros student got up and said you're telling us there's mainly old people, so that means they are owing to be a problem for long, right? [laughter] after everyone laughed just like this very nervously, i said hey,
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you're talking about age made. i blended right into the tea party meetings i attended and the fact is 55, 60, 70-year-olds aren't going anywhere. there's medicare, social security and veterans benefits. said their activism is whether the tea party label phase or not and i think it will fade in the sense wants that romney has the nomination memories to phrase it down. and fox news won't talk about tea party protests leading in november because they know it's not a popular label. but the urge is in the and determination and political savvy that have gone into this remarkable movement are not going anywhere at the grassroots for quite some time and it's a big deal to turn one of the major political parties in the
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direction of some pretty hardline policy priorities by the standards of just three years ago, including anti-environmentalism, which is another tenant. they've seen us to push long-standing policy goals gutting environmental vacations, privatizing the very social security and medicare programs that many grassroots teapartiers depend upon. they are not going anywhere either. i think for some time to come, we are going to see a clash, which in many ways is generationally booted between an older americana that experienced life in one way, life and work and patriotism in one way for many years and now sees a different america, an uncertain economy with young people who don't think the sameinclung your
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families and many of the old teapartiers used as an example of the horrors that could come from changes. so this is a phenomenon that's here in american politics for some time to come and it's worth understanding. certainly we had a very interesting time coming to terms, trying to figure out what it's all about family also enjoyed many people we met who relates person-to-person in almost every case very much. [applause] will have to take some questions now. if you have a question come without a microphone on the ground floor in the back and another one on the second floor.
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>> good afternoon. i'm actually in anthropology grad student from chapel hill and i just completed about a year of research with eight chapters here in north carolina. host >> was the name of the one here? >> i was with seven different in winston-salem. one of your research assistants came down over the summer and started talking to people -- >> eustis finish in north carolina is a good rule in the senior thesis. >> i'm grateful to you for not publishing the data. my question is i read the book and was very happy to see how you separated the tea party into three different areas, which is one of the most crucial things
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for people to understand, but i also found the shop tours were amazingly autonomous, but only one of them was on medication with americans for prosperity. all the others resisted actively or passively with any of these broader groups. i was working just in north carolina, so i'm curious whether you saw that strong autonomy in the part of these chapters in other areas. >> thank you for that question. obviously a verdict on american civic activism and one of the things they wrote about in an earlier book was the federation linking together almost the key to success for about 150 years of american civic history. so we were very interested in
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learning not only whether there is that participatory federation going on, but with the links were from the top down to the bottom up and so on. we found the same thing. i mean, local tea party groups in some ways reminds me of the new left groups that i saw when i was a young person any decades ago. they're very persnickety and suspicious of higher manipulation and that goes for the republican party is certain late, but also pose for outside groups that try to speak in their name. we found varying levels of awareness in the local groups in the different regions of tea party pastries, which is the one that tries to reach out to the local groups and create and some in virginia were not willi to
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join a conference calls and not part of it, whereas others were. things like americans for prosperity, freedom works, the cato and heritage institutes at washington we find them mention on the website and we tallied back, but it usually was just a link. now i think there's a lot of variety in this. i have to say up with americans for prosperity has been a regional organizers and established a presence in the midwest and wisconsin and we found her by the were trying to send speakers out and that's a big mechanism because the local groups wanted to bring in speakers. they don't see that as control. they have the whole place to talk about a beverage system. one final thing i will say is w
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looked for signs of federations from below. that is groups forming a stay federation. as you know, they did in virginia and that's quite remarkable. there may be some signs of that in michigan, but i think on the whole the local groups often go their own way and don't perceive when there be an influence from outside. >> i would just add a tiny point, which is the national organization we saw consistent approval for her. it was fox news. the conservative media were often treated with more credibility than a lot of these national political groups i'd say. >> my name is patrick and then patrick and then a student here at the public policy institute. it is my perception of media has tried to frame the antithesis of the tea party to be the occupied movement and would require a whole another study and another
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south. my question is interactions with members of the amore for his tea party, what were their perceptions of the occupied movement or if you are interviewing people really got started, what were their sentiments towards the claims the occupied people are themselves making? >> that's a great question. we did interviews in the year before, so i don't have first-hand accounts. there is widespread distress. there's the more fined or apparently violent moments. the example of young people wanted something for free that fit closely most of the time. these are demographically different groups of the teapartiers are much older, more established group at least from
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what i know is considerably younger. some people would like with the similarity of both people and i.t. parity are concerned about corporate power and governments. i don't think that's true for the tea party. i actually interviewed and pushed on this point because i want to understand the mindset of it. many people in the tea party or owners, so they tend to have successful at temples and don't have as much am more concerned about campaign finance, for instance. when they were concerned about the auto bailout to blame it on
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the union or a day when government officials for being corrupt. but the blame is never centered. we didn't find it with his anti-sentiments at all. one more game that i can't doubt remain in touch on e-mail. the peninsula teacher at in virginia and he regularly sends me e-mails attacking occupied. it's much more on his mind than anybody i know. i think that occupy a sort of an anti-symbol for the teapartiers. they resented very much as far as i can tell print e-mail traffic that itlot of
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attention and may also -- the list that petersons narrowed list of criminal acts in the occupied camps. but he sends me letters of horrible things and the naacp are doing. anything on the left is key as an enemy. >> pampers cunningham, dean of the stanford school. wondering if you could talk about the christian raised that's implicit in a lot of things that may be difficult to talk about in the context of your interviews, before a lot of people it is very many different guises and i wonder if you could talk about that a bit.
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>> i will start and i think we'll go say something about that. the context in which we did this research, for example, one of the tea party where you come from, everybody thinks we're a bunch of racist rednecks. it's a bit of an exaggeration, but not entirely. there is a widespread perception which came from some of the coverage of the more extreme things that people were saying at rallies and a small number of signs that said truly disgusting things with obvious racial overtones. sat in our interviews, we were listening. in fact, we were mainly listening. if you're going to come from cambridge, massachusetts to sit down the tea party people, you'd
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better just be in a respectful listening mode. so our interviews all started with a question, tell us about yourself and how you came to the tea party. and only then moved on to things like what you don't like about government, what do you like about government which surprised everybody when we asked him a question. we listen to what they said about who are the kinds of people they resented, why they feared and hated barack obama and who were there freeloaders and miniatures they did want to get benefit. there is no question that language that has been historically associated with black white racial stereotyping came up in the interview. usually not elaborately, but this is of course people trying not to step on that particular -- they suspect did
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we suspected them. local leaders we interviewed and observed when out of their way to try to make sure the racially charged accusations did not come up in their meetings. so that was true in the meeting i attended incognito, the public meetings should be there. the language was more loaded about emigrants who are mostly illegal even though it is factually not at all true. muslims and muslim americans, nobody tried to disguise their hatred in any way about those categories of people and young people quite a few not so nice things were said. so we really do believe that
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long historical tensions about race play a role in this and for many older people, seeing barack obama elected president must have been shocking due to the color of his skin. but we don't think it was mainly bad. we think it was a combination of that with the foreign father, muslims have a middle name, the fact is one of our apartments are to us, the young people are obama, obama. you could hear in her voice the perception of the 2 million people screaming that do not duration. and she didn't like it. the fact it is a college professor, very, very bad because college professors are seen to be seen. people coming up with obscure schemes to impose some real americans, to benefit freeloaders into and bought 11 million ill as voters so
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the real americans can be defeated in the next election. all of these things were sad. so next to those prejudices, the black white prejudice was kind of down there and what we heard. >> i'll just say quickly that they were definitely a man who was leader in admission of the john birch society. so we asked the opening question, what party to the tea party. he said it first became aware of the problem and then he stopped. and then he said i love foreigners and changed the subject. but you're being careful. you know you are talking to harvard academics and people are being very careful.
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but i do think concerns about mexican-americans and they really live the category of mexican-americans with illegal immigrants. they are not well distinguish categories in the very deep concern about sharia law is some sort of islamic takeover of the united states at the popular idea in tea party circles and those were the most visceral spheres that i recall hearing. >> my name is brad holt said in the sociology department. i interest is in the religious composition of the tea party movement and the role religion plays. he made a distinction between social conservatives and fiscal conservatives, implying there was more social conservatives in the midst. yet when i look at the priorities committee seem to be
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primarily fiscal -- fiscally conservative priorities. basically the religious composition and the role religion has played in the tea party movement. >> i was a question that we were interested and you were interested partly because the academic literature we would've -- were familiar with would suggest it's very hard for people to organize brand-new groups in a short period of time. ..
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fighting abortion and gay rights. i would say that for the most part that's a divide that runs through the middle of groups. that local organizers have to manage and that's white a divide to manage, -- quite a divide to manage, and day manage it by placing the emphasis, at least in the overt statement, on the things they all agree about, opposing obama, cracking down on immigrants and cutting spending. but in an annual meeting, the meeting mail be held in a church and start with chrtian
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player along with the policemen of allegiance, which all tea party meetings start with the pledge of allegiant, some start with a christian prayer, some don't. and it mate well -- the meeting in virginia, i thought the leader was a remarkable organizer, i write about her in a book, a lovely woman in many ways, land to organize group by organizing volunteer theater productions. she just is such a good organizer, and she contacted me the day after the meeting i visited to say, my observation of a member standing up to say how wonderful it was that the virginia legislature had just voted through the law that harasses the medical clinics that provide access to abortion by forcing them to retool themselves as hospitals, which would, she said, drive them all out of business. the whole room was excited about that, and i observed that.
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she knew i observed it. he e-mailed me the next day to assure me the tea party doesn't prioritize social conservative causes, and i think that tells us something. the organizers try hard to play it done because they're casting a broader umbrella and formed a group that isn't just the local church group. but the people, many of them, probably 60% to 70%, depending on the region of the condition tri, are often fervent eval general cal president tess stand, conservative believers. >> a did a dissertation on the federalist, at it an organization of conservative and libber tearans, policy people, a very strong presence in d.c.,
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was for examplously labeled the core of the vast right conspiracy on the right by hillary clinton. the writing on conservatism, an interesting thick heard from folks of the goldwater-reagan era, i've heard a lot of resentment towards the tea party from folks in kind of federalist society circles, which tend to be more intellectual. tend to be a different demographic as well because you gate lot of young conservatives who pride themselves on following the footstops of goldwater and reagan, and sometimes off the record but a fair at of disdain that's not coming from the left. it's coming from this different category of the people who try to hold the torch of william f. buckley and look at these folks, as you were saying, as some on
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the left look at tea partyers, who are racist, ate, et cetera in your reslatch where you found this different intellectual thought. i observed this as well. when you think about that kind of -- the intellectual side of conservatism and the movement versus what you're describing, this new wave. >> i think i'd say there wasn't a lot of focus, in the same way there wasn't a lot of focus on elite groups trying to link to the tea party. just seem central to the work they were doing at the local level. one-about 200 tea party is remember i visited this web site and cataloged things about them, andle the cato institute. so it's not that they're not some link to that kind of
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d.c.-based libertarian tradition, but people in general seem very focused on local affairs. >> this isn't an intellectual movement. and one of the things that happens when you go out and spend time with tea party people and listen to them and smooz with them. they have the same prejudices about one another. i wouldn't be surprised if many of the elite old line, libertarian conservatives, or buckley style conservatives say, my goodness, there are a fair number of elite groups that have said, wow, we can use this to knock out barack obama, and take the trifecta in 2012 and that what they were doing, and now they're finding that they get to the point where they're supposed
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to tell these people to stand down, and they're not standing down. so, what else is surprising here? this is america. in virginia, which i did get to know pretty well, i visited tea parties in more than one part of the state, and also did an interview with some state level leaders, they that stereotypes about each other. i mean, the tea party around charlottesville is referred to the christian conservative tea party around lynchburg in very disdainful ways, and a leader from central virginia told me that the tea partyers in fare fax and alexandria were a bunch of wineos. so they have an internal geography about themselves that is much, as you might find on the liberal left about the
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various different strands. >> what percentage only peeve join the tea party or who were actually at thele events. a lot of the things you're conveying have not been my experience at the rally, yet i don't join a group and maybe the reason people are not in groups is they're raidings kids and the older people have the time to join. i think we were more concerned -- the rally is went to -- about fiscal responsibility and just as angry at republicans and democrats. the corruption. this. >> there's no question they're angry at republicans and, if i didn't stress that i meant to. i mean, we need to make a distinction here. are these people who vote for democrats? no. they're not. and they never did. but are they distrustful of the
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republican part as itas under george bush? up enthusiastic about the mccains of the world and are they suspicious the republicans sell out the world they believe in? absolutely. our feelings are not based on our interviews and meetings. they've they were they would not be good social science. what we did in our research was to garth all -- gather all of the national surveys that reported on tea party sympathizers and people who had done one or more thing, like attend a rally -- well, attend a rally would be the most -- send a check, and then we compared what those said about those broader categories of people, which at one point probably about 25% of americans fell into this broader categories, with what we were seeing in our interviews and our observations, and the activists who attend
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meet examination -- meetings and form groups are a very small fraction of the larger group but the demography is not that different. older 45, or olders, and some younger people. these are statistical statements i'm making, not absolute statements. i wouldn't be at all surprised if at dull rallies some of the people who came on a saturday afternoon were younger than those who would typically attend a sit-down meetings. all the things we said about the tendency to be older, those are based on both kinds of evidence. >> do you have any other -- i'll take a point of privilege. can you tell us a little more about what you see as the origin of the an tip the toward young people at freeloaders. >> we can both say something about that. i'll say that, as somebody who
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is in her 60s, i want to report that is not uncommon for 60-year-olds to sit around and say that the world is going down the drain. this happens, this is human. so it's older conservatives engaging in the same grousing that older liberals engauge in the young people aren't doing the things the way we did, and we did it better. but i think the other part is that the economy, for example, has changed in such fundamental ways so quickly so that many of these people have grandchildren who haven't gotten a job, and who are living at home with mom and dad, and they don't appear to be getting on life's ladder the way that the grandparents or even the parents were able to
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do, and it's not surprising, and particularly shot surprising from a consecutive perspective to moralize those failings. the other thing is the younger generation doesn't think the same thing about a lot of moral and cultural questions as older people do. they're incredibly big differences. and the younger generations more black and brown, so you add all these things together, and particularly from an older conservative perspective, it's easy to be distrustful of people who appear to be doing things the wrong way, demanding benefits and money and opportunity they have not yet earned. and just in general they're just not the america we built. and so you do hear that from tea partyers. we built this country. we worked hard. it's been taken away from us.
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>> i think we have three minutes left. one quick question. >> i am build are -- bill holdman. the tea party members remember the smoggy days, why the opposition to varmintal protection? >> that's -- environmental protection? >> that's a great question. it's a core question. people who are conservative and this idea of conservation, and thrift and noting more than you need are awful ideas that people practice in their private lives and something that tea party members talk about clipping coupons would seem like a related ideological value or idea. but the thing about environmentalism, at least as it is perceived by many people we spoke to in the tea party, it is a set of rules or an ideology that coastal elites want to
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impose on real america. right? so they want to take away our guns, our cars, they don't approve of my lifestyle, they -- and so that concern, the feeling there are bureaucrats and people in the ivory tauer who have a better idea how i'm supposed to live is something we would hear again and again, and that is what was overriding other concerns that do play into an idea of conservation. >> i think this is an area where free market groups that leaped into the tea party fray have played a very active role. one of the meetings we attended in virginia and later turned out the same speakers were making their way across different tea parties in virginia, because word of mouth, somebody comes and gives a lecture and it resonates. you recommend them to other tea parties and they might invite them. campaign for liberty speakers who are paid professional
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speakers. they delivered an hour-long, incredibly dense and very boring power point, which i thought -- i was taking notes and thought, this isn't going to go over. it was about how the local committees designing bike paths were a manifestation of a decades-long conspiracy hatched by alleged 21 under the auspices of the united nations and involving democrats and republicans alike to impose communism on america by other means, and we got to the question period and i thought, well, somebody is going to peek up here and ask a critical question, and not a single person did. instead they added examples -- i think this is typical of a lot of pop uist right wing think can areow analogize the small business owner or home opener

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